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RA - do I need medications
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Mommyfor2 posted:
Hey everyone. I've posted a few times and I've read so many of your comments I feel like I know some of you. I hope you are all doing well today

My question is, if I'm in remission do I need to start medications?

I had one flare which lasted about 7 weeks. It was horrible. It's been a month and a half since the flare went away and I went into remission. Each day I wake up feeling better and better. But I'm supposed to start methotrexate on Friday. I don't want to start medicine that will make me feel sick when I feel fine. I have two young children at home that I need to watch at nights by myself and I worry that my ability to do so will be compromised when I start methotrexate. I feel really stuck in a corner and I don't know what to do.

My numbers

RF --- 21
ESR --- 4
CCP --- 250
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An_246765 responded:
It might be worth asking your doctor about Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine). I had similar numbers to you at diagnosis (RF 80, CCP >250, ESR 7, CRP 0.5) and my doctor put me on Plaquenil, it's worked great ever since. Plaquenil can take up to 6 months to work where as the MTX kicks in after about 6 weeks I think. Plaquenil has a more favorable side effect profile for most people (I had some bad nausea for a few hours every day for about 6 weeks but it eventually went completely away). The side effects of MTX go down if you take it as an injection as opposed to the pills. Your doctor may have very good reasons for recommending the MTX over Plaquenil but it might be worth asking. I'm glad you're feeling better!!! It might be nice to get the drugs on board and working without the pain of a flair though. You never know when the flair is going to stop, especially if you don't have something on board helping to fight against it. Just my thoughts. Good luck!
 
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Mommyfor2 replied to An_246765's response:
Thanks for the information. At my last visit my doctor put me on both plaquenil and mtx, what are the chances? So I got over my fear and actually took the medication. I'm so glad I did. So far I don't have any side effects with either medication (although in a week the plaquenil is being doubled, hope I'm still ok). My symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are getting worse too so I really wish I took the medication sooner.

It's ver encouraging that you were helped with just plaquenil. It seems that no one is ever helped by anything with this stupid disease. The more I read online the more discouraged I get. I begin to wonder what the point is.
 
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An_246765 replied to Mommyfor2's response:
I'm glad you started the meds! And that you haven't had any side effects with them. If you start having side effects with the Plaquenil I was helped a lot by taking it at night, just before I got in bed, that way I slept through most of the nausea.

I would really encourage you to take what you read on the internet with a grain of salt. Remember that people are most likely to post or write things when they have had a bad day, not a good day. Lots of the "facts" on the internet are decades behind where medicine actually is today. I read some pretty scary statistics after I was diagnosed and when I asked my Rheumatologist about it he said those were the stats before we really new how to treat it. RA is treated much sooner today and the biologics have revolutionized the treatment and prognosis of RA.

Something that I've found helpful in working with my rheumatologist is to remember that he has been treating RA literally since before I was born (I'm only 26.) He's seen RA from the time when it wasn't treated until damage had already occurred to now when it is treated aggressively as soon as it is diagnosed. So he's seen the full spectrum of the disease and so I've learned to trust his opinion and his recommendations. If he tells me I'm doing well and he's pleased with where I'm at, I know that that is 26 years of professional experience talking. You need a rheumatologist you trust and who listens to you. The more you trust your doctor the better you will do. Open communication is very important!

Everyone that I've personally met who has RA, myself included, we're all doing very well and live very active lives. Attitude is a big part of dealing with the RA. You have to decide not to let it get you down and to not let it define you. So hang in there, I think most people do pretty well today. Be patient, the beginning is the hardest time but things do get better. Physically you will start to feel better and emotionally you will get stronger. Take things one day at a time and don't get ahead of yourself. I hope you continue to feel good!
 
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Mommyfor2 replied to An_246765's response:
Thank you so much for your reply. I wish I could hug you! I hope you are right. It's only been two weeks since I started medicine but my hips and knees ache so much I can't play with my son or take my daughter for walks. I brought my kids to a science centre the other day and I had to sit on the floor next to them most of the day (the things that are not included in photographs). I'm hoping in another month things will improve. I wish the medicine worked faster.


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